Sunday, January 31, 2016

Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
With the publication of Kitchen, the dazzling English-language debut that is still her best-loved book, the literary world realized that Yoshimoto was a young writer of enduring talent whose work has quickly earned a place among the best of contemporary Japanese literature. Kitchen is an enchantingly original book that juxtaposes two tales about mothers, love, tragedy, and the power of the kitchen and home in the lives of a pair of free-spirited young women in contemporary Japan. Mikage, the heroine, is an orphan raised by her grandmother, who has passed away. Grieving, Mikage is taken in by her friend Yoichi and his mother (who is really his cross-dressing father) Eriko. As the three of them form an improvised family that soon weathers its own tragic losses, Yoshimoto spins a lovely, evocative tale with the kitchen and the comforts of home at its heart.

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My Thoughts: Kitchens are usually the favorite rooms for many people. This is were most traditions get created. I got this book years ago because of the title and because of the author's unique name. Many of the reviews online said that this was an enchanting book. I highly looked forward to reading it but, unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations.

The plot and characters were simple. A young girl named Mikage lived with her grandmother and absolutely loved kitchens. Kitchens were her safe haven and would actually sleep next to the fridge to feel safe. After her grandmother died, her grandmother's young friend and Mikage's classmate offered Mikage to live with him and his transgender mother/father.  I found Yoshimoto's mother, aka father, to be a very interesting character. However, this character was short lived. The author soon foreshadowed how Mikage and Yoshimoto were going to end up together. I kept expecting for more to happen with this book but it seemed to stay at a steady pace. Not much excitement happened to keep me interested in the plot and the characters.

When reading this short book, I was not aware that it had two different stories. I thought "Moonlight Shadow" was a second part to Mikage's story. I was very confused. I ended up losing interest after a few chapters and ended up skimming through the rest of the book. Perhaps I would have felt differently if I knew that "Moonlight Shadow" was a different story, but then again I was not too excited while reading the first one.

In the end, this book did not live up to my expectations. I really wanted to like it and I was hoping to read an "enchanting" book, as it was described by various reviews. It was simple and somewhat dull for my taste. I rate it:

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